I'm trying to find a single word/term for an individual that puts forth effort only when being observed by management. All other times individual is lazy/useless, but everything changes when the boss is around! Is there a term for this? Thanks!
The term for the phenomenon, when you perform better under observation, is Hawthorne effect:
(also referred to as the observer effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed. wikipedia
I don't believe there is a succinct single word to define a person who is a slacker but pretends to work hard when the boss is watching. Sycophant and related adjectives come to mind but they are not specific enough.
If you look up synonyms for phony, you will find
dissembler, dissimulator, hypocrite, phoney, pretender, whited sepulcher. beguiler, cheater, deceiver, trickster, Tartuffe
A good hyphenated word for the person you describe is man-pleaser. A man- pleaser is exactly the kind of person you describe. He or she
puts forth an effort only when management is present
slacks off when management is not present
snaps to attention the moment management is present once again
The kind of "work" this person performs could be called "eye-service." In other words, he performs only when management has their eye on him.
A true test of character is whether you work just as hard and conscientiously when you're being observed as when you are not being observed. A man-pleaser would most definitely fail this test!
suck-up and brown-noser are specific, but not too polite.
opportunist is general, but covers this.
[Urban Free Dictionary]:
A person who will go to many lengths to impress to look impressive, good, and worthy towards persons or groups of higher social standing. This is usually done to ascend in their workplace. In their attempts for higher status and privilege, they will become unguarded and their peers will notice how fake and transparent their attempts are.
Synonyms include brown-noser, yes man, bitch, suck up, teacher's pet, and butt kisser